Buying the perfect home is not as simple as it can look on TV. Buyers and sellers must first navigate the offer process, which can involve many steps and quick decisions. Here’s what first-time buyers and sellers can expect, and how your REALTOR® can help guide you throughout.
1) What must happen before you can make an offer?
Many renters think they can move on a house right away. But first, there are some things to take care of, says Katia Samson, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX L’ESPACE in Montreal.
“It’s very important to give your landlord notice three months before the end of the lease, because leases are usually renewed automatically every year,” explains Samson.
Next, get pre-approved for your mortgage unless you’re paying cash, she adds.
“Meet with a mortgage broker and provide all the required financial documents, so you can establish your budget and know what you can afford.”
Once that’s done, meet with REALTORS® to find a perfect match, explain what you’re looking for, and start an active search.
“REALTORS® have inside information about certain condo buildings and areas,” says Samson. “REALTORS® can also send you documents faster, such as the seller’s declaration, certificate of location, and any relevant financial documents.”
2) How is an offer drawn up?
When buyers are ready to make an offer on their chosen property, they must inform their REALTOR®, who will then advise the listing agent, says Samson.
“Otherwise, as soon as you walk out of a property, you don’t have to be informed if another offer comes in. This is especially important in this market, where we’re getting multiple offers,” she explains. “Your offer would include the price, the date of closing, and whether it’s conditional upon inspection (or other terms) and a review of documents.”
3) How long does the offer process take?
Depending on whether yours is the only offer or if there are many other buyers interested, the entire offer process can be completed in as little as a day or take up to a week.
“Right now, many properties are coming on the market with an established schedule for visits, offers, and deadlines,” says Samson.
4) What happens when there are multiple offers?
If you’re competing with other buyers, your REALTOR® might suggest being flexible with some conditions, and going in with your best offer.
“It’s usually a one-shot thing: there are no negotiations when there are multiple offers,” adds Samson.
Some buyers write a letter to the sellers and include photos of themselves when there are multiple bids.
“Some people like to know who they’re selling to because it’s not just financial, it’s also very emotional,” she says.
5) Are offers done in person or digitally?
First-time sellers might remember when they bought their home years ago and how everyone met in person to sign all legal documents; however, technology has changed that, says Samson.
“Everything is done electronically now and it’s so efficient,” says Samson. “All offers are emailed, and it’s very rare offers are presented in person to the listing agent.”
If the seller wants to counter-offer, negotiations will also be done digitally until both parties agree to terms, or someone decides to walk away.
6) Should sellers accept the first offer that comes in?
Sellers shouldn’t feel pressure to respond quickly, says Samson.
“If I list a property and get an offer that’s valid for 24 or 48 hours, but I have a lot of interested clients and brokers, I’ll advise my seller to let that offer expire so everyone else can come in,” she says. “If someone’s really interested in your property, they’re going to wait; it’s in the seller’s best interest to allow about a week for those visits.”
Remember, REALTORS® are trained to navigate the offer process from start to finish, helping both buyers and sellers meet their goals. Meet your home buying or selling MVP today if you’re ready for a move.